Making Custom Glass Countertops with Clients…A Case Study with Eric and Kelly
We solve a big problem for our high-end residential and commercial clients…we allow them to participate in making custom Glass Countertops. Many are only interested in original works of art for their homes …not reprints or copies. They have creative ideas and want them expressed in their decor…right down to the level of details in their glass countertop texture.
Our high-quality glass countertops are too expensive to not have fun shopping for!
This blog is one of several case studies presented to help you understand how our clients creative input drives the design process at Downing Designs.
Eric and Kelly D. were designing their cute Tampa pool home to reflect their Key West taste. Kelly has an exceptional eye for landscape design, and has meticulously planned and executed by Eric. The effect is at once perfectly calming and vibrant in its color and textural composition. The next step was to make an outdoor bar that fulfilled their intent. They wanted a luminous party bar. One that synced with the flow of the outdoor walkways and layouts. They were concerned that no texture would capture the flow she envisioned.
The Lady gets what she wants. Pretty simple. We met onsite with their GC, and discussed several options incorporating her design ideas. And produced a few initial sketches.
They visited our studio where we discussed our design process. It is straightforward, but requires understanding how we feel about the flow of our textured glass countertops. The Downing Designs design center was designed for just this approach. As we walk around our textured glass high bar, different aspects become apparent: the flow looks different from one end vs the opposite end…the edge is amazing and we show how different textures that dissect the edge vs parallel the edge look like. Armed with this insight into our design process, the design became formalized in a series of refined pencil sketches, that captured the simple, breezy flow they desired. We proceeded to then scale up our sketches in the kiln with their direct participation. Its no secret that wine definitely helps this process, and this Sunday afternoon was no different.
Making Custom Glass Countertops with Eric and Kelly.
We took the sketches and made a scaled-up version of the selected design…”Kiln Carving” in the sand. Much like a water colorist, we start with a light outline, then carve our sand bed deeper to refine the design with a series of brush strokes to give us the desired texture. Kelly and Eric watched as I carved the bed…further and further with controlled strokes…taking on the ultimate shape of the textural flow. It is a very interesting process to watch a 2-D pencil sketch become 3-D in a sand bed. Slight adjustments are made during the process as they viewed the artistic shape from many angles to assure that the flow is perfect. Eric took a few strokes on the endpoint of the carving, and Kelly dotted the eye of the hurricane (Hurricane Kelly it is now dubbed).
We then stack low iron glass sheets to make 1.5” thick glass countertops. When illuminated with natural light or enhanced with our LED’s (8,000,000 colors!) it can take on any color you desire. We offer professional and extensive lighting consultation as part of our design service to assure you that your glass countertop or glass high bar will be beautifully illuminated, and we discuss the many options offered.
The kiln is heated to over 1400 degrees Fahrenheit…annealed…cooled. After 5 days, the glass has been fully fused, and has taken on the texture of the kiln carved sand bed. We then use our CNC waterjet and/or diamond saw for precise cutting to size. Extensive hand polishing takes our glass to an optically pure lens quality edge. This is a critical Downing Designs quality distinction which we have elaborated upon before.
We also round over all corners and edges to make sure that the glass is comfortable when you are leaning against it, as well as chip resistant when people hit it with hard objects such as wine bottles, elbows and chairs.
The result is spectacular. The pictures don’t do justice to the effect this BIG beautiful, glowing bar top has upon its patrons. It’s calming. After a long day, what could be better than to have the perfectly soft, upward glow wash over your cocktails, food, and your significant other. We have described this “Time Machine” effect of this glow previously. It’s real. It’s wonderful. It’s powerful at making everyone look younger. My wrinkles become less obvious. Come see for yourself.
We think that spending a lot of money on an expensive stamped, prefabricated piece of glass is just silly, when for the same amount of money you can have an original design, contoured to fit your kitchen or bath room flow. If you want to have an original, Rockstar bar for your home or restaurant, you don’t do it by covering old Beatles songs.
Give us a call to discuss your ideas and we will develop for you a unified design plan for your layout, complete in all respects with lighting, and glass countertop textural flow. You don’t need to be a wine expert to know that anything pairs well with a Downing Designs glass countertops, especially when infused with the likes of Kelly and Eric’s personality…
Thanks to Eric and Kelly D. for letting me photograph and write about this experience.